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Mall and amusement park rides may pose hidden risks for kids

Whiplash, broken bones, lacerations – what do these words call to mind? Most likely, they conjure images of car wrecks or other major accidents. Unfortunately, they are also associated with something most people tend to think of as far more innocent and harmless: children’s rides like those found at California’s many malls, arcades and amusement parks.

Each year in the United States, more than 4,400 children visit the emergency room for ride-related injuries, according to a 2013 report by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In the summer, when injuries of this type are most common, roughly 20 children per day suffer ride-related injuries serious enough to land them in the emergency room. When non-emergency situations are factored in, the injury rate could be far higher still.

In a study published in the medical journal Pediatrics in May of 2013, CIRP researchers analyzed emergency room data from approximately 93,000 ride-related
children’s injuries occurring between 1990 and 2000. Their findings revealed some potentially surprising information about the types of risks these rides can pose.

Different rides pose different risks

When it comes to
children’s ride injuries, many people may be inclined to think of amusement parks and fairs, where roller coasters and other large rides are more likely to be present. But while there is no shortage of injuries stemming from these rides, the CIRP study suggests that certain types of injuries may actually occur more frequently with mall rides than with fixed-site rides at fairs and amusement parks.

Specifically, falls are involved in a higher proportion of ride injuries occurring at malls than at other locations – perhaps because safety is often given a lower priority at malls, where rides are frequently placed on hard surfaces and may be poorly maintained or lack proper restraint systems. Falls from, in, onto or against a ride are involved in nearly 75 percent of mall ride injuries; in contrast, falls account for less than 33 percent of ride-related injuries overall. Along with a higher risk of falls, mall rides are also more closely associated with head injuries and concussions among child riders.

California child injury liability

When a child is hurt at a mall, amusement park or other location in California, state law provides that he or she may be able to receive monetary compensation for the resulting medical bills and other related expenses. To learn more about the possibility of seeking compensation through the California civil legal system if your child has been hurt by a dangerous ride, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you.

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